Voices Tuesday, July 08, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | July 7, 2014 | 7.14 pm IST The Supreme Court ruling declaring that the Shariat law has no legal sanctity has generated a lot of debate. Indian law takes into consideration religious practices and sensibilities with regard to marriage and divorce, allowing for personal laws. It is within this area that fatwa’s operate.  The instant Supreme Court running comes in response to a Public Interest Litigation to what is now called the Imrana case. In the case, a Muslim woman from Muzaffarnagar was raped by her father-in-law. After she was raped, a local Muslim panchayat nullified her marriage to her husband and asked her to treat him as his son. The Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband then issued a fatwa quoting a verse from the Quran which read “and marry not the women whom your fathers married.” Here are some that make it to the "memorable" list: Sania Mirza and her skirt: In 2005, the Sunni Ulema Board served Sania Mirza with a fatwa over her tennis clothes. Hindustan Times quoted Haseeb-ul-Hasan Siddiqui from the Board, “The dress she wears on the tennis courts leaves nothing to imagination. She will undoubtedly be a corrupting influence.” Sania Mirza and her relationship: In 2010, the Sunni Ulema Board issued a fatwa to tennis player Sania Mirza (again) and Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik for living together before marriage. The action was termed as ‘haram’ or forbidden and Muslims were asked not to attend the marriage. Lone women can’t travel beyond 48 miles: The Darul Uloom Deoband ordered a cap of 48 miles on the distance Muslim women could travel without an escort in 2011. A woman was expected to be accompanied by a ‘mehram’ (escort) who could be either her husband or a relative with whom sex would amount to incest. The fatwa was issued considering women’s safety needs. Cycling not for girls: In 2010, the Darul Uloom Deoband issued a fatwa prohibiting adolescent girls from riding bicycles because it was bound to result in ‘undue exposure’ or bepardagi. The chairman of the fatwa department said that apart from affecting their femininity, it also harms their body structure. He is reported to have backed this with medical science. The talaq criterion: The Darul Uloom Deoband issued a fatwa saying that if a man says ‘talaq’ (divorce) thrice and if the wife does not hear it or is not aware of it, the divorce is to be considered valid.
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